Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taking A Compliment

One of the many things I love about events likes Stitches is seeing what other knitters do with their yarn.

There were an abundance of knitters and crocheters wearing their handmade garments throughout the weekend. I am amazed at how well done some of the designs are and its wonderful to see many of the patterns that I've coveted come alive. I saw the Kaffe Fassett Floral Jacket and the February Lady Sweater executed impeccably (the fit of the FLS across the shoulders was perfect!). I also saw someone wearing the Belvedere sweater I'm working on and it renewed my excitement about the sweater. It also made me glad I was taking classes so I too could produce a fantastic piece of work.

This is important to me because, before I packed, I chose what I would wear each of the four days carefully so I could show off my work among people who will appreciate it.

However, when I was dressing each day, I hesitated. One sweater looked too short, one of the top-down raglans has horrific batwings and my beautiful cotton Katydid sweater is suddenly short and shapeless and missing a button already. So I wore my Noro top-down raglan every day.

I love this sweater. It fits, or rather, it fits me the best of all my handknits. There is a batwing effect too, just not as pronounced as the other raglan. And I do not benefit from horizontal stripes.

But it's knit well, there are no hidden mistakes and it was warm, a significant attribute in the over-air-conditioned classrooms in October. If anyone noticed flaws, they didn't mention it. In fact, I got quite a few compliments.

Which is a fascinating dynamic. I was taken aback by the number of women who responded to compliments about their work by pointing out the flaws (obvious only to the knitter) or by belittling their work.

Ladies, it’s not necessary to draw attention to mistakes. And it is excruciating to hear you belittling a garment I know you labored over lovingly. I know we’ve been raised to be modest but when you’re among your knitting peers, I think it’s appropriate to be proud and to accept praise for your accomplishment. No one is going to think you’re boasting. After all, we’re Knitters.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back from Stitches East

What a wonderful time! I got up super early on Thursday, packed and hit the road. The weather was gorgeous in Hartford, although I was indoors most of the time. After checking in at the Marriott (highly recommended), I had a great lunch at Vivo and went to class.

Susanna Hansson taught me how to knit stripes in the round without getting an unsightly jog. It's very humbling not being able to master a new technique right away. This skill will be useful for making the Holly Jolly Bag from Creative Knitting. Too tired to visit the Market on Thursday evening (can you imagine?).

Friday began with a great class on necklines with Chris Bylsma. I love Chris' designs and her teaching style. Spent the afternoon with Drew Embrosky, The Crochet Dude, for Beyond Beginner Crochet. This is exceptionally useful and he's a great teacher. Will look for him in the future.

Saturday was devoted to The Sweater Map with Shannon Okey. I've taken classes with her before and learned a lot and this time was no different--she is a fount of information as well as entertaining. My measuring partner Denise was great during that portion of the agenda. Net net, I've got a basic sweater designed but may not use the cashmere I brought with me--too many variables.

I'll be honest, by Sunday, I was tired and blew off the classes I had scheduled (I am trying not to think about how much yarn I could have bought with the price of the classes). I gave my Grand Prize tickets to some lucky strangers in the Market and shopped a little before traveling home.

I was shocked at how much smaller the market was this year and wandered around looking for the new BIG things. Not much was new and there were some conspicuous absences. My favorite is Glitterati from Pagewood Farms (see photo). The yarn is gray and there are pink, black and silver sparkly things and sequins all over it!

I picked up Jean Frost's book Custom Fit Knit Jackets: Casual to Couture. While it features Jean's designs, there's a detailed tutorial up front to help me find my perfect size and shaping. I swatched the Gabrielle sweater last night--I'm not there yet, but working towards it.

Meanwhile, I cast on the Floating Checks cardigan, also from Jean but not in her book. I'm using black and white Zara. This involves a lot of slip stitches, which I'm enjoying.

I bought a lot of beads from Twisted Sistah Beads & Fibers; I really like Leslie and she was able to answer all my questions. I also picked up some buttons that look like peppermints for holiday knitting and little mink balls for decoration. I'm thinking in lieu of pom-poms. I got some Cascade 220 for the Holly Jolly bag from The Yarn Barn of Kansas and then I went to The Yarn Lady. I just love their booth.

Laura Bryant's Prism yarns just slay me, however, I didn't do too much damage--I bought the Glitteri there (didn't know I could get it from the Pagewood Farm booth!), ordered two skeins of Plume so I can make the hat featured in the December issue of Knit and Style (is it out yet?)and I ordered the kit for the Shona vest. This is a pattern Jane Slicer-Smith did for Trendsetter and uses Merino VIII. I ordered the same green as the sample--hope I like it!

I did make significant progress on the Venezia sweater. Better keep those needles clicking.